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Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
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Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
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The New Vichy Syndrome:
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Jihad and Genocide
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Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
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The Iconoclast

Sunday, 13 January 2008
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Notice in a Sainsbury's store window in Kent:

"Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will not be serving hot food after 3pm today. Sorry for any incontinence this may cause."

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Posted on 01/13/2008 7:52 AM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 13 January 2008
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Alberta Human Rights Commission Interrogation

Opening remarks by Ezra Levant, January 11, 2008 – Calgary

My name is Ezra Levant. Before this government interrogation begins, I will make a statement.When the Western Standard magazine printed the Danish cartoons of Mohammed two years ago, I was the publisher. It was the proudest moment of my public life. I would do it again today. In fact, I did do it again today. Though the Western Standard, sadly, no longer publishes a print edition, I posted the cartoons this morning on my website, ezralevant.com.

I am here at this government interrogation under protest. It is my position that the government has no legal or moral authority to interrogate me or anyone else for publishing these words and pictures. That is a violation of my ancient and inalienable freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and in this case, religious freedom and the separation of mosque and state. It is especially perverted that a bureaucracy calling itself the Alberta human rights commission would be the government agency violating my human rights. So I will now call those bureaucrats “the commission” or “the hrc”, since to call the commission a “human rights commission” is to destroy the meaning of those words.I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me. The commission was meant as a low-level, quasi-judicial body to arbitrate squabbles about housing, employment and other matters, where a complainant felt that their race or sex was the reason they were discriminated against. The commission was meant to deal with deeds, not words or ideas. Now the commission, which is funded by a secular government, from the pockets of taxpayers of all backgrounds, is taking it upon itself to be an enforcer of the views of radical Islam. So much for the separation of mosque and state.

I have read the past few years’ worth of decisions from this commission, and it is clear that it has become a dump for the junk that gets rejected from the real legal system. I read one case where a male hair salon student complained that he was called a “loser” by the girls in the class. The commission actually had a hearing about this. Another case was a kitchen manager with Hepatitis-C, who complained that it was against her rights to be fired. The commission actually agreed with her, and forced the restaurant to pay her $4,900. In other words, the commission is a joke – it’s the Alberta equivalent of a U.S. television pseudo-court like Judge Judy – except that Judge Judy actually was a judge, whereas none of the commission’s panellists are judges, and some aren’t even lawyers. And, unlike the commission, Judge Judy believes in freedom of speech.

It’s bad enough that this sick joke is being wreaked on hair salons and restaurants. But it’s even worse now that the commissions are attacking free speech. That’s my first point: the commissions have leapt out of the small cage they were confined to, and are now attacking our fundamental freedoms. As Alan Borovoy, Canada’s leading civil libertarian, a man who helped form these commissions in the 60’s and 70’s, wrote, in specific reference to our magazine, being a censor is, quote, “hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions. There should be no question of the right to publish the impugned cartoons.” Unquote. Since the commission is so obviously out of control, he said quote “It would be best, therefore, to change the provisions of the Human Rights Act to remove any such ambiguities of interpretation.” Unquote.

 

The commission has no legal authority to act as censor. It is not in their statutory authority. They’re just making it up – even Alan Borovoy says so.

 

But even if the commissions had some statutory fig leaf for their attempts at political and religious censorship, it would still be unlawful and unconstitutional.

 

We have a heritage of free speech that we inherited from Great Britain that goes back to the year 1215 and the Magna Carta. We have a heritage of eight hundred years of British common law protection for speech, augmented by 250 years of common law in Canada.

 

That common law has been restated in various fundamental documents, especially since the Second World War.

In 1948, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Canada is a party, declared that, quote:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

 

The 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights guaranteed, quote

 

1. “ human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,

(c) freedom of religion; (d) freedom of speech; (e) freedom of assembly and association; and (f) freedom of the press.

In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteed, quote:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

a) freedom of conscience and religion;

b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

 

Those were even called “fundamental freedoms” – to give them extra importance.

For a government bureaucrat to call any publisher or anyone else to an interrogation to be quizzed about his political or religious expression is a violation of 800 years of common law, a Universal Declaration of Rights, a Bill of Rights and a Charter of Rights. This commission is applying Saudi values, not Canadian values.

It is also deeply procedurally one-sided and unjust. The complainant – in this case, a radical Muslim imam, who was trained at an officially anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, and who has called for sharia law to govern Canada – doesn’t have to pay a penny; Alberta taxpayers pay for the prosecution of the complaint against me. The victims of the complaints, like the Western Standard, have to pay for their own lawyers from their own pockets. Even if we win, we lose – the process has become the punishment. (At this point, I’d like to thank the magazine’s many donors who have given their own money to help us fight against the Saudi imam and his enablers in the Alberta government.)

It is procedurally unfair. Unlike real courts, there is no way to apply for a dismissal of nuisance lawsuits. Common law rules of evidence don’t apply. Rules of court don’t apply. It is a system that is part Kafka, and part Stalin. Even this interrogation today – at which I appear under duress – saw the commission tell me who I could or could not bring with me as my counsel and advisors.

I have no faith in this farcical commission. But I do have faith in the justice and good sense of my fellow Albertans and Canadians. I believe that the better they understand this case, the more shocked they will be. I am here under your compulsion to answer the commission’s questions. But it is not I who am on trial: it is the freedom of all Canadians.

You may start your interrogation.

Later, Mr Levant reports on his experience:

If you don't pay attention, you might not even realize that freedoms are being eroded. I had half-expected a combative, missionary-style interrogator. I found, instead, a limp clerk who was just punching the clock. She had done it dozens of times before, and will do it dozens of times again. In a way, that's more terrifying.
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Posted on 01/13/2008 7:45 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 13 January 2008
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"Ed" Husain - our Ed - is such a nice, ordinary bloke isn't he? Not like those "Islamists" he once mixed with, an experience he seems to have done rather well out of. Ed Husain is the Prodigal Son whom we all want to forgive. And lo, the former "Islamist" agrees with the Bishop of Rochester about "no go areas". Unless you read the small print. From The Telegraph:

Last week Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali had the courage of his convictions and lambasted multiculturalism, Muslim extremists and "no-go" areas in our country. I think he was right and wrong.

Kill that fatted calf, now.

A "no-go" area is not a literal or legal term, but a reference to feeling unease or significant social and physical discomfort in certain surroundings. My local town centre, for example, is a "no-go" area for me on Saturday nights. Binge drinking and violence run rampant. The mentality of drunkards is not too dissimilar to groups of young, hate-filled men who do not want to see others "on their turf".

Notice the slick, almost imperceptible moral equivalence. Bad Muslims are just like bad people everywhere, so Muslims are just like everyone else. Wrong. A drunken infidel may be obnoxious, but tomorrow he will be sober. And he is not planning to make drinking compulsory and turn non-drinkers into second-class citizens. Husain slithers on:

The bishop was right to identify the problem, but wrong to focus, as it appeared, only on Muslims. Whether it's Muslim extremists in Blackburn, or Jewish isolationists in Golders Green, or white supremacists in rural Wiltshire, or fundamentalist Sikhs in Southall, collectively as a nation we have to accept that we are facing a serious failure in social cohesion. There is no point in showcasing multicultural Britain on the continent when our cities are divided along ethnic, class and religious lines. In the name of multiculturalism, we have created monocultural ghettoes. A shopper in London's Green Street or Birmingham's Alum Rock Road may as well be somewhere in India.

"Jewish isolationists in Golders Green"? Jewish isolationists? Oy gevalt! How scary they are with their notional eruvs and their latkes. In fact, Golders Green is a very cosmopolitan area, with a mix of all races. "Vibrant" is the term generally used for such areas. But even if there were hoards of "Jewish isolationists" that would not scare me at all. The thing about isolationists, you see, is that they leave you alone. I wish Mohammed had been an isolationist, and I bet I'm not the only one. As for "fundamentalist Sikhs in Southall", I will leave it to regular reader Pali to comment on whether they are a threat.

Sorry, "Ed" - I think the fatted calf lives to fatten another day. Read the rest if you like. I got to the bit about "Jewish isolationists" and gave up. Readers may find my December 2007 article, The Islamist, more satisfying. In it you will see him compare Islam, to which the whole world must submit, with Zionism, the desire for a tiny homeland for a persecuted people.

I do not like thee, Ed Husain
The reason why  is surely plain

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Posted on 01/13/2008 5:36 AM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 13 January 2008
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A majority of Britons believe that Muslims need to do more to integrate into society and want tighter restrictions on immigration, an opinion poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph shows.
However, the population is divided about whether the breakdown between communities has reached such a level that there are "no-go areas" for non-Muslims.
His comments have been backed by church leaders in majority Muslim areas who have disclosed that their congregations have been targeted by militant Islamists in a campaign of intimidation which has seen churches vandalised and converts to Christianity attacked.
They say that extremists are determined to make non-Muslim residents feel unwelcome, with the ultimate aim of driving them out.
Church leaders in communities with large concentrations of Muslims said that Christians were being targeted. An east London vicar who had delivered Christmas leaflets in his parish said he was told to stay away from "Muslim areas".
He said: "Despite this being a mixed area, where Muslims make up only about 15 per cent of the population, I was told that the leaflets were offensive and could make people angry."
Another churchman said his path had been blocked by Muslim youths as he drove through a district of Oldham, Lancashire, last year. "They wanted to know why I was coming into 'their' area," he said.
A priest ministering in the Manchester district of Rusholme said he knew of "dozens of cases" in which Muslim converts to Christianity had been attacked.
Another church leader said that Asian Christians in Leicester feared being identified when leaving churches. "They are scared of being stopped and beaten up if they are found carrying Bibles," he said.
None of the church leaders we spoke to wished to be identified for fear of retaliation, but Don Horrocks, of the Evangelical Alliance, said: "It's increasingly difficult for non-Muslims to live in areas of high Muslim density, especially if they are practising Christians."
Some commentators fear that the aim of Islamist groups such as Tablighi Jamaat, Hizb-ut-Tahir and the Deobandi sect is to drive non-Muslims out of areas such as Dewsbury, in West Yorkshire, and Oldham along with neighbourhoods in Luton, Leicester, Birmingham and Leyton, in east London.
The ultra-conservative Deobandi movement, which produced the Taliban in Afghanistan and some of whose British followers preach hatred of Christians, Hindus and Jews, is thought to be in control of almost half of Britain's 1,350 mosques, reports claim.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, the director of the Barnabas Trust, which helps persecuted Christians, said: "Muslims are being told not to integrate into British society, but to set up separate enclaves where they can operate according to sharia law." He said the process of "cleansing" Muslim-majority areas of non-Muslims had already begun, with white residents urged to leave and churches threatened.
 
 
It has been more than 40 years since Tim Carbin walked the length of Oak Lane, the Bradford backstreet of his boyhood. Then, when he lived with his grandmother Florence Pawson, a matriarch within the community, his task after school was to run errands.
Mr Carbin, then 13, knew all the local storekeepers by name, just as he knew the families in the surrounding terraces.
Yesterday, outside number 95A, his grandmother's former home, Mr Carbin gazed in bewilderment as he scanned his old haunt.
Not surprisingly, the stores of his youth had gone: such has been the change in our shopping habits over the decades that they have given way to supermarkets and fast-food outlets.
But that was not all that had changed irrevocably in Oak Lane. Among the new stores, the clothes shops sell Muslim dress, the butcher stocks halal meat and even the local takeaway advertises halal pizza.
"I feel like an alien, like I'm on a street in Karachi," Mr Carbin says, awkwardly.
"I don't feel I have anything in common with this area. It's like I've never been here before. I knew it would be different but I knew, too, that I would feel uncomfortably like I don't belong."
As Mr Corbin trudges farther along Oak Lane, he passes the tumble-down Anglican church where many of his former neighbours worshipped. Amid the mound of bricks, Sunday school hymn books are strewn.
In the surrounding streets, the few white residents willing to talk speak of isolation rather than intimidation. One said he had had several members of the Asian community knocking on his door, asking if he wanted to sell his home.
I had that when my father was in hospital and so did my oldest friend 3 streets away when her father died. This happened just before I started courting my husband. On the advice of a Muslim colleague I took two male “cousins” with me when I had deal with the opportunist would be purchasers.
"At face value, that seems innocuous," he says. "But others believe it was a message saying I should get out."
Another tells of how his father, an electrician, parked his van in the area only to have it rocked and thumped by a group of Asian youths telling him: "This is our area now. You are not welcome here."
In the nearby town of Dewsbury, which was once, like Bradford, a thriving mill area, similar enclaves exist. Local people were outraged recently to read that busy nurses at their local hospital had to allocate time to turning the beds of Muslim patients towards Mecca five times a day so that they could pray.
But, as Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, points out, the notion of space and territory is vital to Muslims.
During the 1979 European Islamic Conference, a policy of integrating as communities, not as individuals, was advocated.
"Once those communities become the majority," he says, "they can control education, the economy and so on. And that is what has happened."
 
 
Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader:
"In 1987 I stood in Bradford West as the Conservative candidate, an election characterised by some violence and death threats. My experiences at that election left me worried that we had a growing problem with a community reluctant to integrate. This debate should have taken place a long time ago."
 
Ann Cryer, the Labour MP for Keighley, near Bradford:
"I've been told about men and women of my age who don't like to go into local parks because they've been told by Pakistani lads to stay out. There are almost entirely Muslim areas where it would be difficult for a white to live in the same way that it would be hard for a Muslim to live in some of the all-white areas." Anne Cryer is a mature lady I would say around 64. I have great respect for her for her work against forced marriage and domestic violence.
 
Prof Anthony Glees, of the Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies:
"We have now got Islamic enclaves where a self-selecting apartheid system is emerging under the banner of 'celebrating diversity'.
That's dangerous from a security point of view because it allows the threat of terror and subversion to emerge, as it did with the July 7 London bombings, which were carried out by young men born and raised in Britain, but who looked to Islam."
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Posted on 01/13/2008 3:51 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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From this site:

Es brillig war. Die schlichten Toven
Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben;
Und aller-mümsige Burggoven
Die mohmen Räth' ausgraben
.

»Bewahre doch vor Jammerwoch!
Die Zähne knirschen, Krallen kratzen!
Bewahr' vor Jubjub-Vogel, vor
Frumiösen Banderschnätzchen!«

Er griff sein vorpals Schwertchen zu,
Er suchte lang das manchsam' Ding;
Dann, stehend unterm Tumtum Baum,
Er an-zu-denken-fing.

Als stand er tief in Andacht auf,
Des Jammerwochen's Augen-feuer
Durch turgen Wald mit Wiffek kam
Ein burbelnd Ungeheuer!

Eins, Zwei! Eins, Zwei! Und durch und durch
Sein vorpals Schwert zerschnifer-schnück,
Da blieb es todt! Er, Kopf in Hand,
Geläumfig zog zurück.

»Und schlugst Du ja den Jammerwoch?
Umarme mich, mein Böhm'sches Kind!
O Freuden-Tag! O Halloo-Schlag!«
Er schortelt froh-gesinnt.

Es brillig war. Die schlichten Toven
Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben;
Und aller-mümsige Burggoven
Die mohmen Räth' ausgraben.

It suits German very well. There's a French version too, but it's utterly merde:

Il brilgue: les tôves lubricilleux
Se gyrent en vrillant dans le guave.
Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux
Et le mômerade horsgrave.

«Garde-toi du Jaseroque, mon fils!
La gueule qui mord; la griffe qui prend!
Garde-toi de l'oiseau Jube, évite
Le frumieux Band-à-prend!»

Crap or what? "Jaseroque" mon cul.

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Posted on 01/12/2008 6:01 PM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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From "I Borboni di Napoli" by Alexandre Dumas:

"Il re di Spagna non ha bisogno che di due cose: una donna ed un inginocchiatoio."

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Posted on 01/12/2008 5:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh'
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest Du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde
Warte nur, balde
Ruhest Du auch.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Translation here.

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Posted on 01/12/2008 5:55 PM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Kirsten Sarauw, a Danish theologian, wrote this article as translated at Gates of Vienna:

Last year in Vienna a conference was held about so-called Euroislam (pdf, German). Here the prominent Muslim delegates formulated a common strategic vision about a Europe dominated by Islam. At the event Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia, envisioned an “upcoming Islamic era which, modeled on Moorish Spain and Osmannic Southern Europe, will take over after Christendom”.

Among those present was the ubiquitous professor Tariq Ramadan. He advised that the more long-sighted intentions of Euroislam should remain hidden from the general public.

The conference was in agreement about the first and foremost goal, namely the introduction of religious Islamic jurisprudence (sharia) in Europe “in the beginning at least as a parallel system alongside national laws in European states”. As to the real meaning of sharia they all agreed to avoid publicity as far as possible.

One might wonder why the declarations from that conference did not attract wider attention than they actually did. Could it be that such forecasts for Islam are so far-fetched that nobody takes them seriously? Or could it be that forecasts such as this about Euroislam are so deviant from the wishful thinking of the otherwise so self-asserting cultural elites in Europe that they prefer to ignore what was really said?

The same could be said about the problematic professor Tariq Ramadan who proclaimed the most worrying statement: The real intentions of Euroislam must be concealed from the general public. Quite a harsh and frank statement, considering that he must anticipate being quoted in the media. But maybe he just cynically relies on the negligence of “the infidels”?...

Essentially Islam forbids Muslims to live in the lands of the infidels. The one and only valid exception to this is their public devotion to Allah and the prophet. In other words: mission, first and foremost Islamic confession, and visibility everywhere in society. Furthermore Tariq Ramadan suggests that the term “House of War”, the term traditionally assigned to regions of infidel influence, should be replaced by “House of Confession”, the better to describe that it’s more a question of mission rather than real war.

[Sheik] Qaradawi probably set his heavy fingerprint on a document called “The Project” presumably authored by Said Ramadan, Tariq Ramadan’s father, he too a central figure in The Brotherhood. “The Project” , dated 1982, outlines a long-term strategy (100 years), a detailed roadmap for Islamic infiltration and the final grab of power in Europe (and the USA), and accordingly is in compliance with the declarations from the conference in Vienna last spring.

The paper was discovered (November 2001) while ransacking a luxury villa in Switzerland owned by Yossef Nada, an old friend of the Ramadan family, an international leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the financial director of the Al-Taqwa Bank, Lugano, which is believed to fund Islamic terrorism such as Al-Qaeda and Hamas...

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Posted on 01/12/2008 2:30 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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A press release from Americans Against Hate (with thanks to Rosine Ghawji):

(Coral Springs, FL) Yesterday, the Department of Defense: Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that its upcoming event featuring a speech by CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier was cancelled or, as CENTCOM put it, “postponed” with no future date planned. The event had originally been scheduled for Tuesday, January 15th. A CENTCOM representative stated that there was no reason given for the “postponement.”

The cancellation occurred after a phone conversation on Thursday took place between Americans Against Hate (AAH) Chairman Joe Kaufman and a CENTCOM official, who said that he would bring the matter up for discussion.

AAH had discovered that Bedier was set to speak at the government agency from a posting on the website of radio talk show host Michael Savage. According to Savage’s information, Bedier was going to speak about such controversial topics as jihad, martyrdom and dhimmitude (serving as a non-Muslim under Muslim rule), followed by a “question and answer session.”

At the behest of the official, Kaufman sent him an e-mail stating his specific concerns. The e-mail read in part, “[I]t would be wrong for CENTCOM to host Ahmed Bedier from CAIR this coming Tuesday, given CAIR’s extensive ties to terrorist organizations... Please reconsider allowing Mr. Bedier to speak to your personnel on Tuesday the 15th or anytime in the future. CENTCOM should be fighting terrorists, not embracing their friends.”

As well, in the e-mail, Kaufman made mention of the fact that CENTCOM had previously hosted Ramadan Shallah, a colleague of Sami Al-Arian and who later became the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Given Bedier’s own ties to Al-Arian, Kaufman asked, “Why do you want a repeat performance?”

Americans Against Hate praises CENTCOM for no longer having this event with CAIR and hopes the government agency exercises better judgment as to who it invites to speak for upcoming CENTCOM events.

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Posted on 01/12/2008 1:48 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Dying young, as somebody - I forget who - once said, is a good career move. Allan Massie imagines Keats, Shelley and Byron as old codgers:

The triumvirate of Romantic poets achieved only 92 years between them, Byron dying at 36, Shelley at 30 and Keats at a mere 26. Byron admittedly felt old before his time: ‘If thou regret’st thy youth, why live?/ The land of honourable death/ Is here: up to the Field, and give/ Away thy breath.’ The disillusion of this, his last poem, was doubtless in part a matter of convention, but if he felt exhausted, it was no wonder. He had packed more into the 18 years of adult life than most of us manage in 50. Nevertheless it’s tempting to speculate how each would have developed if he had lived as long as Wordsworth or Tennyson. Shelley and Byron might well have done, their deaths being fortuitous: drowning in Shelley’s case, a fever contracted in the unhealthy lagoon of Missolonghi in Byron’s. It’s improbable that Keats could have survived tuberculosis, but suppose he had, or had never contracted the disease, would he have continued to pour out poetry — perhaps eventually finding himself observing, mournfully, like Tennyson, that he could do anything and everything with the English language but had nothing, or nothing left, to say? I prefer to think that with his intelligence, his curiosity about other people and sympathy with them, his lively sense of humour, he might have turned to writing novels; and, if he had done so, the marvellous vivacity of his letters suggests that they would have been wonderful. ‘The unwritten novels of John Keats’; fine chapter for a counter-factual History of English Literature.

What of Shelley? Would he have remained a Man of the Left, being scooped-up, white hair streaming, by police as he took part in a sit-down demonstration in Trafalgar Square? Or would he as Sir Percy Shelley, Bart, have put all that behind him, becoming a pillar of the Establishment? Would the author of the tract ‘The Necessity of Atheism’ have ended up as a churchwarden? Bertrand Russell or T. S. Eliot? He might have gone either way, for he was the perfect type of the intellectual always attracted to extreme positions. So would Shelley in his seventies have found himself lining up with Carlyle, Ruskin, Tennyson and Charles Kingsley in defence of Governor Eyre who had displayed what John Stuart Mill called ‘brutal recklessness’ in suppressing a Black rebellion in Jamaica? I suspect he might.

And Byron? Ah Byron! Harold Nicolson once wrote an essay entitled ‘If Byron had become King of Greece’ (published in a 1930s collection of ventures into counter-factual history), but, sadly, I recall no more than the title. It’s more likely, I think, that, his reputation restored by his exploits in Greece, he would have returned to England to resume his seat in the House of Lords. Would he have been eager for Parliamentary Reform, even a minister in Grey’s Whig Government alongside his friend John Cam Hobhouse? It’s certainly conceivable. But Byron could never — surely? — have sat easily to Party, and there was always a Tory reactionary streak in him — witness his early sympathy for the Luddite machine-breakers. He would have had little sympathy with the new Industrial Age, and his Liberalism, though sincere, stopped well short of any approval of democracy. It’s not difficult to imagine him as an aloof, scornful and misanthropic reactionary, detesting the vulgar commercialism of the Railway Age and subsiding into a disgruntled disaffection with his times, not unlike Evelyn Waugh’s or indeed Kingsley Amis’s, sharing Matthew Arnold’s distaste for ‘this strange disease of modern life,/ With its sick hurry, its divided aims, / Its heads overtax’d, its palsied hearts.’? One pictures him, all too easily, as a bored and fretful ‘grand seigneur’. Walter Scott once suggested to him that he would end in the Roman Catholic Church, and that too seems a probable and, in his case, melancholy, destination.

But he was spared that. They were all spared the pains and disgruntlement of advancing years, and so they remain, like the figures on the Grecian Urn, ‘For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,/ For ever panting and for ever young.’

As a whippersnapper of a certain age, I couldn't possibly comment.

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Posted on 01/12/2008 11:56 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Some readers write to suggest that Bush is anti-Israel or antisemitic. This is unfair. He gives off not the slightest whiff of antisemitism. There is nothing carterish about him. He is merely ignorant of Islam, a sentimentalist about "people," and he cannot begin to see the Arab war on Israel in its correct, Muslim context. He is also pressured by Condoleezza Rice, who has bizarrely -- not antisemitically, but bizarrely -- identified the quite measured treatment, undertaken solely to save Israeli lives, of the local shock troops of the lesser Jihad against Israel, those "Palestinians" with their eyes-rolling-skyward feigned torment, with the treatment of blacks in the pre-Birmingham March south. And behind Rice are a host of differently malignant State Department people, and others who cannot allow themselves to analyze correctly the Arab Muslim war on Israel, or for that matter cannot allow themselves to analyze correctly the meaning, and therefore the permanent menace, of Islam -- for it would require too much re-thinking of too many thinks, require too great an application of intelligence and imagination in coming up with ways to counter that world-wide Jihad, and this is something that most people, including most people in the State Department and the C.I.A., would prefer not to have to do. It would make their lives much easier if it were not true, and if, by throwing Israel to the wolves -- which is what Bush, without realizing it, did, and what anyone who parrots the kind of things he parroted does.

But in his case it is stupidity, not evil. Child and defender of privilege, he has never taken the subway often enough. He doesn't know real life in this country. And he certainly has never had to learn enough about history -- he is lacking in Geschichtsgefuhl, that "feel for history," that a President should have, and he lacks the imagination to realize that not everyone in the world wants what he thinks all Americans, and all sensible people, must want. Some people, more than a billion at least, have quite a different view of the universe.

He's not an antisemite. That's the kind of word that should be reserved for Jimmy Carter.

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Posted on 01/12/2008 9:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Since New Year, I have been working extremely hard. Deadlines have been very tight, and pressure is enormous. At times like this, it is particularly irksome to think that a large proportion of my salary, and therefore of my time, my strain and my stress, goes to support the idle. The bone idle. The ungratefully, arrogantly, complacently idle. Idle people with whom I have nothing in common, whose behaviour and attitudes I despise, and who, if followers of the True Islam, wish me harm. Stephen Pollard writes:

The FT reports today that:

Up-to-date figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that last May 504,000 people below the age of 35 were claiming incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance compared with 443,000 claiming jobseeker’s allowance.

Run that by me again? 

The figure, which includes more than 300,000 young people claiming for “mental and behavioural disorders”, shows continuing high levels of worklessness among the young, in spite of 10 years of steady economic growth and a concerted attempt to move people off welfare and into work....Sue Christoforou, of mental health charity Mind, said: “Society is much faster paced, the workplace is more competitive, and there are more short-term contracts.”

There is, I believe, a technical phrase for this. It begins with a b, ends with an s and has ollock in between.  

I accept that there will indeed be some under-35-year-olds who are so mentally incapacitated that they cannot work. But 300,000? Because of short-term contracts? Such is the benefits system today, that such patent nonsense is simply accepted as a given.

As for there being over half a million people under 35 are unable to work: surely the correct word is not 'unable' but 'unwilling' - and then indulged by the state.

Quite. The "incapacity benefit" racket has gone on far too long. I see some of these "sick" people in the pub. If they're well enough to lift a pint, they're well enough to work. Now, at long last, a polittician is proposing to do something about it. And that politician is the once touchy-feely David Cameron. From The Spectator:

Mr Cameron [...] saw in the new year by announcing the most radical welfare reform proposals Britain has ever seen.

A Conservative government would end the ‘let them eat tax credits’ approach to welfare and test every single one of the 2.6 million incapacity benefit claimants to judge what work each of them is capable of doing. The Jobseekers’ Allowance would last for two years and then be replaced by Australian-style ‘work for dole’ schemes.

Not before time.

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Posted on 01/12/2008 9:29 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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As yet another corner shop in my neighbourhood passes from "Asian" (code for Muslim) to Polish hands, I read Esmerelda's post with interest. "Asians" are angry, it seems, because Poles and other East Europeans are "taking our jobs".

Nobody's job is "theirs" by right. If East Europeans are better workers than "Asians" -or indigenous Britons for that matter - they will get the job.

I have posted here and here about how small shops in my neighbourhood, formerly run by Muslims, are being taken over by immigrants from Eastern Europe. My explanation, albeit speculative, was as follows:

The first generation of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan had, if not a strong work ethic, a strong motivation to work hard. Benefits were not generous then, genuine race discrimination went unpunished, and they had to fend for themselves. Born into poverty, they were grateful for the chances that Britain gave them. However, second and third generation Muslims have no such gratitude. Born into relative wealth, they do not see why they should struggle as their parents did. Add to this the fact that Islam, about which they know more than their parents, inculcates a sense of entitlement that is diametrically opposed to the work ethic, and you may have the explanation for the changes in my local shops.

 

As has been demonstrated at this site and elsewhere, poverty is not the cause of Islamic terrorism. On the contrary, Islamic terrorists often come from privileged backgrounds. Poor Muslims are often too busy scratching a living to entertain dreams of Islamic supremacy let alone try to realise them. They are in any case ignorant of what the Koran tells them to do. It is the wealthy, idle Muslims who have time to study and practise true Islam. This wealth is generally unearned; in some Arab countries it comes from oil, and in Europe it comes from welfare benefits. What will the Muslims, previously working in the corner shops, do with their time?

 

Of course this may be a coincidence, confined only to my neighbourhood. It is possible that my assumptions are incorrect, that the Muslim shop-workers have moved on to better jobs elsewhere. In the meantime, however, I am going to watch the situation closely. The corner shop may be a useful barometer of Islamisation.

That many of these "Asian" "youths" have no work ethic will not stop them resenting the East European immigrants' success. But that success is deserved. Nobody has done Poles any favours. They put up with cramped living conditions - London, particularly, is very expensive - and work very long hours. They do not have a race relations industry pandering to their "hurt feelings". They do not hanker after past glories, or blame "The West" or "Polophobia" for their hard lives. They just get on with it. Then again, how many Poles are Muslims?

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Posted on 01/12/2008 9:08 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Jeffrey Breinholt has a facinating and detailed analytical piece at Strategy Center:

...The history of Islam in the U.S. courts is not a long one, which is a good thing. It means this aspect of legal history is easily digestible. Most of it comes from the last 25 years. We now have another year under our belts. Which cases from 2007 will future historians and strategists use to glean trends relevant to American national security?

As I predicted several months ago, 2007 ended with highest number of American court opinions involving Islam of any in U.S. history. They totaled 888 cases (792 federal opinions and 94 state opinions).[1] While there were plenty of other cases involving Muslims, this search yields only those cases where Islam is specifically mentioned in the opinions.

To understand how recent a phenomenon this is – courts mentioning Islam in their opinions - there were more opinions mentioning Islam in 2007 than there were in all the years in U.S. history prior to 1980, combined. Viewed by decade – which include only the first eight years of the current decade - the total number of court opinions involving Islam looks like this:

 

The dramatic annual growth in these cases over the last two decades is illustrated by the following graph. Note that the consistent annual increase started in 2001, whereas the annual total then was relatively stable, though larger than the years before 1990.

 

From the total number of Islam cases in 2007, several can be eliminated from analysis: cases in which "Islam" or "Muslim" was the name of one of the parties but not otherwise relevant to the controversy, cases where the words were in the title of another case cited by a court, and cases in which the words were part of an analogy or rhetorical device in an opinion that otherwise does not involve Islam. This leaves a meaningful universe of relevant 2007 Islam cases totaling about 750 (mostly federal, with 83 from state courts).

The predominance of federal cases over state cases is driven by three types of controversies: prison litigation, asylum, and employment, most of which are brought in federal court...

Muslim Employment Discrimination

Muslim employment discrimination cases were at an all-time high in 2007: 69 cases (65 federal and four state). They are listed in Appendix B, which includes the job in question and the courts’ decisions. Prior to 2007, the biggest year was 2006, with 57 Muslim employment decisions. As I have noted in another article, this trend is inexplicable, because Muslim employment discrimination cases are generally losers. Nevertheless, they keep on being filed, in increasing numbers. If these cases are taken on a contingency-fee basis, there are bound to be some very disappointed plaintiffs’ lawyers at the end of the day...

Criminal Prosecutions

Next time someone claims that American prosecutors never win terrorism cases, or that Muslims are not more likely to be terrorists than other ethnic enclaves, recommend that they to visit a law library, where they will find several published 2007 opinions in the case books where Muslims were successfully prosecuted for conduct related to religiously-inspired violence.[4] This past year also generated opinions in cases of this type that remain pending.[5] It cannot be said that it is impossible for the criminal justice system to incapacitate terrorists. The year 2007 also saw individual Muslim defendants doing nasty things short of terrorism: rape,[6] child rape,[7] lewd acts with a child,[8] visa fraud,[9] drug dealing,[10] gang violence,[11] murder,[12] a violent shooting,[13] and domestic violence.[14] The only reason these opinions are "Muslim" cases are because Islam was injected into the court proceedings or was part to their factual record.

The year 2007 also saw several criminal cases that illustrate a phenomenon I have described in other articles as the "I am a Muslim" defense: individuals who claim that their conduct is excusable because they were following religious dictates or because their Islamic faith necessarily meant they were of good character.[15] A version of this strategy is in play in those cases where the defendants claim they were inappropriately selected for prosecution because they were Muslim, an argument that consistently fails.[16]

The 2007 cases include Muslim defendants who used their religion as a stalking horse, claiming that it was prosecutorial misconduct for the jury to be exposed to any reference to it, as if it is sacrosanct, even if arguably relevant to the case.[17] The most unscrupulous version of this tactic involved the intentional injection of Islam as a defense, followed by the claim that it was unfair for the prosecution to counter it, as occurred in one 2007 case.[18] ...

Libel and Slander

...In 2007, I found five defamation cases involving Muslim plaintiffs, and they tended to involve law enforcement. A Muslim woman who was arrested as she attempted to cash a suspicious cashier’s check at a bank sued the bank for slander, for its act of calling the police to investigate.[22] A person in trouble with the law in western Pennsylvania claimed that local law enforcement officials defamed him by privately referring to him as the "gay Muslim serial killer."[23] The family of a 16-year old Muslim girl in Davis, California arrested for hit-and-run, sued the county for defamation, based on the sheriff’s written response to a civilian oversight board report undertaken because of the public outcry over the arrest.[24] A Brooklyn Muslim leader (who, incidentally, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1990s Sheik Rahman prosecution) sued the leader of the Guardian Angels, a private vigilante group, for claiming that he was involved in arms trafficking in Canada.[25] A Muslim FBI agent sued ABC and Fox News for stories it ran about the allegations that the agent refused to wear a wire in an investigation targeting Muslim subjects.[26] ...

Constitutional Claims and Challenges to Government Operations

If the Muslim libel cases are designed to control the flow of information, the same goal was explicitly behind the litigation in which Islamic advocacy organizations sought a declaratory judgment and permanent injunction against U.S. agencies' practice of entering and disseminating civil immigration information to state and local enforcement officials through National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.[31] Meanwhile, when the threatened speech emanates from Muslims organizations, First Amendment values are generally used as a sword, as in the challenge to the constitutionality of the permit process that was a prerequisite to anholdin g anti-war protest on national park land,[32] and in the litigation to force U.S. officials to permit Swiss Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan’s entry into the United States.[33]

Muslim challenges to law enforcement in 2007 were not limited to efforts to stop the flow of information. Individual Muslims challenged their border stops,[34] search warrants executed on their homes,[35] the freezing of their bank accounts,[36] their being pulled off a domestic flight because of complaints by fellow passengers,[37] their prosecution for not paying child support,[38] their investigation for identity theft,[39] their arrest for immigration violations,[40] the eviction from their apartment,[41] and the constitutionality of the PATRIOT Act amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act[42] and of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program.[43] Muslim organizations designated under the terrorist financing-related executive orders challenged the decision.[44] The vast majority of these cases were dismissed in favor of the government.[45]...

The challenge to government operations extended to the judiciary. A Muslim litigant sought disqualification of the judge, claiming he was prejudiced against Muslims.[49] Another claimed judicial discriminatory conduct because he was a Muslim, and sought $ 5 billion in punitive damages.[50] A person who lost a breach of contract lawsuit challenged the verdict, claiming that the jury was prejudiced against him because he was a Pakistani Muslim.[51] All lost...

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Posted on 01/12/2008 9:08 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Just when you thought feminism couldn't sink any lower, Ms. magazine shows it can.

The New York Sun: Jewish leaders are reeling after what they say was a decision by Ms. magazine to refuse to accept a full-page advertisement featuring three prominent Israeli women. The advertisement, submitted to the feminist publication by the American Jewish Congress, featured photographs of three women who hold leadership positions in Israel, including the president of the Israeli Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch; Israel's foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, and speaker of the Knesset, Dalia Itzik. Underneath the photographs, the advertisement included the text, "This is Israel."

Officials from the American Jewish Congress said they were shocked by the magazine's decision, which they said amounted to anti-Israel sentiment.

"For a magazine that I believe has stood for empowerment and supporting women in high positions of society, it was just stunning," the group's president, Richard Gordon, said. "Clearly, there is an anti-Israel sentiment here that is being exhibited, because there is no other possible rationale for making a decision like this."

The magazine's executive editor, Kathy Spillar, offered a different reason in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. She said that because two of the women photographed belong to the same political party, the advertisement showed favoritism...

Uh huh.

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Posted on 01/12/2008 8:32 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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The Blotter: The newly appointed leader of the Taliban in Pakistan is being called more dangerous than Osama bin Laden by analysts there. His movement was created last month when 26 Pakistani militant groups joined forces to fight for an Islamic regime there, tribal sources say.

Baitullah Meshud, also known as the emir of South Waziristan, is described by Pakistani authorities as a brutal but able leader who commands thousands of followers. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf blames him for the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, as well as a spate of recent attacks here that have left more than 400 dead. NATO authorities in Afghanistan have offered a $50,000 reward for his capture.

"I think he is now a much bigger threat than bin Laden and al Zawahri in this part of the world," said ABC News consultant Rahimullah Yusufzai.

"He seems to have a large reservoir of suicide bombers, and he is a bigger threat in this region, in Pakistan and certain border provinces of Afghanistan than even the al Qaeda leadership," said Yusufzai.

Like Mullah Omar, who leads the Afghan Taliban, Meshud refuses to be photographed. He lives on the run, according to Pakistani authorities who are tracking him, and never sleeps in the same bed twice. 
"We know he is training suicide bombers. We know he is indoctrinating suicide bombers," Musharraf told foreign journalists last week.

Meshud was appointed the supreme leader of the newly created Taliban Movement of Pakistan, dedicated to creating an Islamic regime there, according to tribal sources. Delegates from 26 militant groups held a secret meeting last month in the volatile region of South Waziristan where the CIA believes al Qaeda is regrouping. The group's first priority will be to fight the Pakistani Army in the northern Swat Valley and in Waziristan, tribal sources say.

"This group has decided they will collectively respond to any military operation by Pakistani authorities," said Yusufzai. Ultimately, they want to establish an Islamic regime in Pakistan that would emulate the former Taliban government in neighboring Afghanistan...

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Posted on 01/12/2008 8:13 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Over 190 people filled a large meeting room at the Walkersville Town Hall on Friday night for a continuation of the Walkersville Board of Zoning Appeals hearing on the proposal of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to build a worship and recreation center.

WALKERSVILLE -- When Roman Storzer broached the subject of religious intolerance at a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing Friday, he was quickly silenced.

Storzer represents David Moxley, who wants to sell 224 acres to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for a worship and recreation center. At the hearing, he asked Creekside Park Homeowners Association representative Jeff Schouw if he had ever heard anti-Muslim sentiments at association meetings.

"Mr. Storzer come on," said board member Dan Thomas. "It's not relevant."

The hearing was held to decide whether to approve the sale and grant the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community a special exception to use agricultural land for religious purposes. The hearings are scheduled to continue Monday and could last several more days.

Storzer's question came after Schouw had given a PowerPoint presentation showing pictures and video of the annual Jalsa Salana festival held in other countries.

Ahmadiyya would like to host the festival on the land, near Walkersville High School. Dr. Ahsan Zafar, Ahmadiyya's president, has estimated the festival could draw between 5,000 and 10,000 people.

Schouw showed pictures of vehicles parked, bumper to bumper, on both shoulders of a dirt road and on the road itself, waiting to find parking. He showed an open field with multiple deep tire marks in the mud.

He closed his presentation by playing a video showing a large number of people during a Jalsa Salana flag hoisting ceremony in the United Kingdom. The people were chanting and screaming.

"Please save our town, land and quality of life," Schouw said as he looked to the three-member board...

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Posted on 01/12/2008 8:01 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Sir Edmund, of course, not Clinton. From The Telegraph:

New Zealand is to hold a state funeral for Sir Edmund Hillary, it was announced yesterday. He deserved nothing less. As the country's prime minister, Helen Clark, pointed out, he was the most famous New Zealander ever to have lived - and also one of the most typical. He was laconic and down to earth even by the standards of your average Kiwi, which is saying something.

Sir Edmund's fame rested on Everest, but his achievements ranged far wider. He spent decades campaigning for the ethnic Sherpas of Nepal's Khumbu region. He was made an honorary citizen of Nepal in 2003, a distinction that meant as much to him as the Order of the Garter.

Last night, Buddhist monks lit candles to pray for his reincarnation; even so, we feel confident in saying that we shall not see his like again.

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Posted on 01/12/2008 7:14 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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The Trumpet magazine is published by Barak Obama's Church in Chicago. Every year they give out awards at a charity banquet.

Trumpet connects the dots between the fight for social justice and the role music has played and continues to play in the lives of Africans living in the Diaspora, during the Sounds on the Shore gala. Trumpet pays tribute to musical artists who served and continue to serve on the frontlines of the civil rights movement, in efforts to EDUCATE, NURTURE and EMPOWER our youth.

Africans living in the Diaspora? Next year in Nairobi?

In addition to celebrating the music of our ancestors, and because of our commitment to enhancing the lives of our readers, Trumpet Newsmagazine will honor recipients of the 2007 Sounds on the Shore (SOS) ~ Contributing to Saving the Lives of Africans in the Diaspora Award. The honorees will be awarded in three sections, each having their own individual category...

Trumpet will donate proceeds, from the Sounds on the Shore Gala 2007, to the Luck Care Center, the only HIV/AIDS clinic independently operated by African Americans in the state of Illinois. We thank William A. Johnson, MD and his nurse practitioner wife, Bathsheba Johnson, for their ability to Educate, Nurture and Empower those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

This year’s socially conscious giants, who allow us to see more clearly what it means to be educated, nurtured and empowered are: Educate - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick ~ Torch, Tony Wafford ~ Lifeline, Cliff Kelley ~ Community; Nurture - Nancy Wilson ~ Sounds of the Struggle; Empower - Congresswoman Maxine Waters ~ Civil Rights, Father Michael Pfleger ~ Empowerment, Dr. Iva Carruthers ~ Social Justice.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement “Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Trumpeter” Award.

This year the gala is sponsored by US Cellular, Nielsen Advertising, TV One, Abbott, Ready Source, All Printing and Graphics, McDonald’s, FloWater, WVON and more.

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Posted on 01/12/2008 6:39 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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We have been waiting for this news. Some mainstream interest at last. From The BBC.
Three Asian (with Muslim names, so not Hindus Sikhs Buddists Confusion or Christian Asians then) men who were convicted of attacking a group of friends and trying to kill one of them have each been given an 18-year jail sentence.
Sodrul Islam, 23, Delwar Hussain, 21, Mamoon Hussain, 20, were sentenced at the Old Bailey.
John Payne, 33, was left partially paralysed by the attack on an east London estate nearly two years ago.
The court heard that as many as 30 men attacked the group of five white people, shouting racial abuse.
Police said the attack was unprovoked; Mr Payne had been on a night out with four friends when they were attacked.
He is thought to have been struck by a machete or axe before falling to the ground.
Mr Payne was repeatedly kicked, causing bone fragments to enter his brain. He now suffers from epilepsy as a result of the attack.
The three men convicted of attacking him were all found guilty of attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and violent disorder.
But there was no evidence that any of the three shouted racial abuse or used a weapon. We know it was a racist attack – 30 people shouting racial abuse is quite enough to convince me. The BBC is fooling no-one.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Payne explained that since the attack he had lost his job and home, he still had no feeling in one foot and suffered from epilepsy. "Never being able to play football with my son is the harshest thing that I will ever have to endure," he said.
Debbie Granger, Mr Payne's cousin . . . added that several other attackers are "still on the loose".
GBH and attempted murder could have carried life imprisonment but for these days 18 years is a good stretch. As the crime deserves.
Update; Steve at Pub Philosopher has this background piece from the BBC.  It ends,
It is still not clear what pushed Sodrul Islam, Delawar Hussain and Mamoon Hussain to set upon John Payne.
What is clear is this: this was their estate and John and his friends were not welcome.
I would call that a no go area, wouldn't you?
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Posted on 01/12/2008 6:26 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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From The Yorkshire Post HT Alan
A clash of cultures between Asian and eastern European youths is leading to increasing tension and violence on Yorkshire's streets, it is claimed.
Some young Britons of Asian (they spell it out properly below) descent are now leading a campaign of intimidation against the new economic migrants from eastern Europe, whom they claim are taking their jobs.
The situation has become so bad in cities like Bradford that a leading social think-tank has begun research into how to get the two sides working together.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has commissioned Bradford-based organisation QED to identify the causes of tensions between the two groups and improve cultural understanding and communication between them.
In the introduction to the project it states: "The newly-arrived central and eastern European migrants have settled within five of Bradford's most deprived communities, which have high percentages of 'settled' ethnic minorities. I have a lot of respect for Quakers, and I love the chocolate but I fear that the trustees of the Rowntree foundation are suffering a midlife crisis lately. The above is not their daftest statement.  
Project director Mohammed Ali told the Yorkshire Post: "The European Union expansion has had an impact on the number of jobs going to those in the ethnic minority communities – it's easy to bring in outsiders who will work for less but we run the risk of leaving people behind.
"We're looking at the causes of tension and ways of bringing the groups together. Communication is the key to these things – we want to look at opportunities to bring people together to share each other's cultures and backgrounds and experiences."
While most of the crime between the communities goes no further than verbal threats, car vandalism and petty fights, little gets reported to the police because of the traditional eastern European wariness of authority.
One Asian scholar at a Bradford mosque, who did not want to be named, said: "A lot of Polish people are coming into Bradford at the moment and unfortunately we're seeing Muslim boys breaking their windows. They're complaining that the Polish people are coming in and taking their jobs.
"They're taking out their aggression on the newer immigrants for what they've had to suffer themselves in the community for years." That’s not quite how some of us see it. My experience of Poles is that they are very hard working and could well prove to be an asset to us. The wave of Polish immigrants who stayed in 1945/8 certainly have been.
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Posted on 01/12/2008 6:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 12 January 2008
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Sam Leith disects the phobomania* in The Telegraph:

Isn't it time the term "phobia" is looked at a little more closely? The suffix "-phobia", like the suffix "-ism", now bears a number of distinct meanings: from its clinical connotations of irrational fear, it has expanded to cover rational fear, visceral disgust and ingrained hatred.

Hate, fear and disgust overlap in complicated ways. But they are distinct enough to be separated in description. I harbour very strong negative feelings towards wasps and goat's cheese, for example. I might be called "phobic" about them. But my feelings towards them are not the same.

I do not exactly fear goat's cheese. I do not, except figuratively, hate goat's cheese. I am disgusted by it. My response to its repulsive texture, its sebaceous reek and its skanking taste of wet goat is visceral and personal. It is, I recognise, irrational: there is no conclusive evidence to link goat's cheese with heart disease, sterility, oral absesses and cancer of the head.

Wasps, on the other hand… I fear them rationally: because the little stripy bastards sting me every chance they get. I fear them irrationally: because my fear is out of proportion to how much a wasp sting actually hurts. And I am disgusted by them: just try pulling the stinger out of a dead one and you'll see what I mean.

I also hate them, because they serve no intelligible purpose whatever in the scheme of creation - yet, rather than keep their heads down and go peaceably about their waspy lives, they make it their business to terrorise our picnics and traumatise our children. They are jihadists in insect form.

Fortunately, how I describe my objection to wasps doesn't make a difference to whether or not I am likely to get stung; and my disgust at goat's cheese doesn't have a bearing on the right of others to eat it. None of my aversions has much effect on the world, so the way I describe them matters little.

It does matter a little more how we think about other "-phobes" and "-ists" - since the former suffix seems to connote an involuntary condition susceptible to pity, treatment or cure; the latter, a negative moral decision taken of free will.

Most so-called homophobes don't, I suspect, fear homosexuals or homosexuality - or not, at least, on a conscious level. Rather, they find it disgusting. Many racists would not say that they fear people with different-coloured skins. Rather, they hate them. How you act on your involuntary feelings is a matter of moral choice.

Fear and disgust are involuntary responses; hatred is not. The true homophobe - the man or woman terrified of homosexuals - is theoretically even to be pitied; kind gays will leave him be. The queer-basher, the firebomber of immigrant hostels, and the golf-club anti-semite demand a different character of response.

It's where "-phobe" tips over into "-ist", then, that we need to be careful. Fear the ism, I say: don't hate the phobe.

Update: I thought I'd manage to make up a new word, "phobomania", but I was sadly Google-thwarted by, of all things, a Belgian. From, of all things, WikiIslam:

Phobomania is a neologism invented by the Belgian philosopher Matthias Storme [1]. He used the term phobomaniac to define a person who accuses others of some phobia (e.g. xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia) instead of responding to their opinion with rational argument and respecting their freedom of opinion.

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Posted on 01/12/2008 6:10 AM by Mary Jackson
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